Mindful eating will not only change the way you eat, it can change your whole approach to life. Your body image, self-esteem, health, relationships and confidence can all be transformed when you develop a happy relationship with food. Learn how to enjoy food more so that you feel full and satisfied without cravings!
Did you ever sit down, eat a meal and suddenly realize that your plate is empty? You barely remember eating or how the food tasted.
Did you enjoy your meal? Where were you during the meal? Your mind was elsewhere and your focus was on something completely different. It was far away from the joyful experience of eating and providing nourishment to your body. Your mind and body were not connected during this vital, nurturing activity. How can your food get digested properly if your mind is not aware of or involved in the eating process?
Your stomach may feel full after eating, but you really don't feel satisfied. You need something else to fill the void that mindless eating creates. A mindful eating practice helps you develop a stronger mind and body connection so you feel satisfied after every meal. You will also feel healthier and happier.
Mindful eating is the practice of becoming consciously aware of every thing we do while eating. We are fully in the present moment and totally aware of each movement and each sensation. We notice how the food looks and smells, how each bite tastes, and how its texture feels. We watch how we pick up a fork or spoon, how we bring the food to our mouth, how we put it in our mouth, how we chew it, how we swallow it, etc. We use all our senses to develop and explore our relationship with food. It is a mindful meditation practice that we integrate with eating.
Eating mindfully is not about control and willpower. In many diets and health programs, the focus is on food restrictions, self-control and portion control. This mindful practice allows new habits to form through acceptance and awareness. You become aware of your thoughts and reactions to food. You become non-reactive to negative thoughts and feelings that often cause over-eating. With a non-judgmental approach to your habits and feelings, you accept them with compassion and let them go.
A mindful eating practice takes a healthy approach to weight loss. The focus is not on "loss" of weight or on the "loss" of your favorite foods. With this practice, you begin to enjoy food more and feel more satisfied as you make choices that feel good for your body. You will be able to enjoy one or two pieces of chocolate and feel fully satisfied. The fear of eating the whole bar will be gone as your cravings disappear and you gain control of your relationship with food.
Many practitioners find that they are satisfied with less food than before. This mindful practice may help you discover and overcome false beliefs that are affecting your weight.
Gratitude is a spiritual practice and it is an essential part of the practice of mindful eating. Make it a habit to feel thankful and grateful for each meal as you sit down to eat.
Think about how pleasing
and inviting the food looks and smells. Think about where it came from
and all the energy that was required to bring it to your plate. Is it a
gift from Mother Earth? Think about the nourishment that it provides your body. Take a moment to feel complete and utter gratitude before
you begin to eat. Appreciation for your food will help you make a more
powerful and meaningful connection to food. Learn more about how to develop an Attitude of Gratitude.
When we eat mindlessly or without focus, we feel full after a meal, but we are not satisfied. This leads to cravings and wanting to eat more as we search for something to satisfy our hunger. Mindful eating helps you make choices that will leave you feeling satisfied before you are full. This is one of more practical benefits of eating mindfully.
As you explore
different foods and experiment with different tastes, textures and
colors, you will learn which ones are satisfying and pleasing to you.
For example, you may find low calorie foods may fill you up, but do not satisfy you. However, you are a unique individual and only your body can
tell you what's right for you.
Whenever you are about to eat something, whether it is a snack or a meal, set your intention to become fully present in the moment. Then give your full attention to the whole process of eating . Use all your senses to help you be fully present as you develop a healthier relationship with food and healthier eating habits.
As you eat, pay attention to what is happening in your body and how your mind is reacting. Notice your thoughts but try not to react to them. Notice how they try to take you away from the present moment. Observe your thoughts without criticism or judgement and then return your awareness to eating and the present moment.
Notice if you feel satisfied or full after each bite. If not, keep eating. Many of us grew up with the idea that we must not waste food. We have to finish everything on our plates. Because we were taught this concept from our well-meaning parents, we feel guilty if we discard any food. If this has been your experience, consider which of these is the healthier decision: a) using our body as a trash can by eating food we don't want or need; or b) discarding food that we don't need or want? If there is a substantial amount of food left over, it can be stored for another meal or snack.
One of the most important aspects of eating mindfully is to stop eating when we are satisfied, regardless of whether there is still food on our plate. Always finishing what's on our plate is the reason many of us put on extra weight and then struggle to lose weight.
The following video will guide you through a mindful eating meditation using a piece of food. It was created to help college students become more conscious of their relationship with food. It will help you get started on your mindful eating practice.
There are various way you can integrate a mindful eating practice during your everyday routine. You can practice with a snack or a meal and you can practice when you are having a nice warm cup of tea or coffee.
Do you drink coffee or tea while working on your computer or reading a book? Try this simple, but effective practice:
The following tips will help you continue to practice and improve your mindful eating habit.
The more your practice mindful eating the better results you will have and it will become a lifetime habit that comes naturally to you.
Have you tried Mindful Eating? How has it helped you?
Comments? Questions? Please ask/share in the comments below or Contact Me directly.
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